Once Again We Will Gather to Mourn UnFreedom Day

Friday 22 April 2016

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement


Once Again We Will Gather to Mourn UnFreedom Day

 On the 24th of April 2016 Abahlali baseMjondolo will gather to mourn UnFreedom Day. We will meet at the eThekwini FET college sports ground from 10:00 to 15:00.

The 27th of April is a historical day in the calendar of SA. It is a day which all South Africans should enjoy and celebrate. But in ten years of struggle we have never celebrated this day.

The people who betrayed us are the same ones that we brought into power with our struggle and our votes. They took an oath to respect us. But although their power came from us they vandalized our dignity.We have refused to celebrate this day because we are forced to live like pigs in the mud. We have refused to celebrate this day because when development does come it comes from above, with guns, and is often aimed at forcibly removing us from the cities. We have refused to celebrate this day because we were promised decent housing and yet are forced into transit camps. We have refused to celebrate this day because our demand to be included in all decision making that affects our communities and our lives has been treated as criminal. We have refused to celebrate this day because when we insist on our humanity our homes are destroyed, we are slandered, beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered.

We say that twenty two years of fake freedom without land, decent houses and decent jobs means nothing. We say that twenty two years of fake freedom without the right to participate in all discussions relating to our lives and future means nothing. We say that we see no reason to celebrate the loss of our hard earned democracy, which is now serving the few while millions are still impoverished.

The purpose of UnFreedom Day is to reject the lie that the politicians that repress us have freed us. In fact it was the struggles of the people that allowed them to return from prison and from exile. We mourn this day instead of celebrating it to highlight the impoverishment, landlessness and indignity to which the people are subjected. We face shack fires, floods, crime and disease. For many of us there is no work. When there is work it is often exploitative. Our young people face addiction. Women and girls face abuse. Crimes are perpetrated against us by those brought to power by the struggles of the people. These crimes are committed against us with impunity.

We are not the only ones living under the politic of blood. The whole world saw it at Marikana. Today people continue to be murdered at the Glebelands Hostel.

But struggle is also everywhere. Workers have rebelled. Students have rebelled. Learners are organising. Because we have always known that struggle will open the road ahead we consider this to be a time of hope. We will celebrate struggle.

We have won many victories in the last ten years. We have occupied and held land. We have defeated plans for mass evictions. We are now committed to the struggle to develop the land that we have won in struggle. We will celebrate the many victories that we have won.

Abahlali baseMjondolo is a people’s movement that has developed its own philosophy which is the living politic as opposed to the party politic. We are more concerned about our lives and building our own emancipatory politic than party politic. We are a people’s movement and not a civil society organisation.

UnFreedom Day is not just an assembly of our members. We also invite all the shack dwellers who are not members of our movement, the transit camp dwellers and all those living in RDP houses (with or without title deeds) to join us. We invite all the workers who labour in the homes of the rich, in the factories and elsewhere and are paid peanuts and disrespected. We invite all the students who are demanding that the doors of learning are opened to all. We invite all the women who are standing up for the freedom, safety and equality of all women. We invite all the migrant organisations that are struggling against xenophobia. We invite all the church leaders, academics and activists who are willing to speak with and not for the people, and to struggle with and not for the people, to join us.

Occupy. Resist. Develop.

Thapelo Mohapi: 0761861884

T.J. Ngongoma: 078 5280810/ 084 6139772

Zandile Nsibande: 062 947 1947